The sense of achiviement
A small rented house in Go Vap district, HCM City is the shelter for a big family of 8 persons who have migrated to this city for work. The family has two Deaf children, Linh (4 yrs) and Tu (8 yrs). Everyweek,the tiny little space also becomes a happy classroom filled with lights and laughter, as Linh and Tu can be in their own language environment: sign language.
Linh is among 255 preschool Deaf children supported by the IDEO project. In 2013, the Family Support Team started visiting her home to teach Linh sign language. I still remember very well those first difficult days. Linh was a very shy and reserved little girl who was unable to communicate with anyone, even with her parents, grandparents or her own deaf brother, Tu. Each time the Deaf teacher came, Linh just sat quietly, looking at the teacher and repeating what he did. Thanks to her and her family’s great efforts as well as our support, Linh has made great progress. She has become much more confident and active. Thanks to sign language, she now can communicate with her family and other people. She can tell them about things happening around her very well. Linh likes sign language very much. Every time we come for a home visit, she runs to the front door to greet us. At first we had a hard time understanding her story, but in time, with increased sign language vocabulary, the communication flowed easily. As she goes to Hy Vong school for disabled children, Linh also has the opportunity to interact with other deaf friends and Deaf teachers.
One lesson I have personally learned through all the Family Support Team (FST) sessions is the importance of developing the sense of achievement in children. Once they that, they have the motivation to study, cooperate and pay attention in the lesson. I witnessed this in a lesson about colors. We let Tu and Linh play the rock-scissors-paper game in which the winner got the chance to answer in sign language a secret color hidden in the hand of the teacher. This is a common and simple child game and may boring for some kids nowadays, but I saw the excitement in their sparkling eyes. Linh is younger but did not lag behind her big brother. Each time she won, she was so excited to guess and sign the color, later she even led the game and pushed the Deaf teacher to play more. As the session went on, each time the right sign was used and she received a compliment from us, Linh was very happy. It was so wonderful to seen how sign language can bring happiness and laughter to Deaf children and gives them the sense of achievement. For Tu and Linh those lessons were so much more than lesson about colors.
We, the family mentor and sign language interpreter have also found our own motivation for work as we get to see such a positive transformation in the deaf children that we work with. Our sense of achievement fostered by the happiness and satisfaction of the family members. After those long days of waiting and hoping families are able to see the hands of their deaf children moving to form concepts and ideas. Also we cherish this opportunity to share our knowledge with the deaf child’s family. Above all, we hope to keep the belief alive that a brighter future for a new generation of Vietnamese Deaf is possible. That their integration into society is guaranteed with knowledge of their own language, sign language.